Combine ancient history with natural wonders on this 12-day Egyptian adventure. Ride camels in the shadow of the Great Pyramids, board a relaxing cruise down the Nile River, and discover the remarkable antiquities of Abu Simbel, Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings. After exploring the sights, sounds, and flavors of Old Cairo, set off into the breathtaking landscapes of the White and Black Deserts—visiting lush oases and otherworldly landscapes as you camp under the stars.

Please note that there have previously been travel advisories issued for the Black and White Deserts. Please check the latest recommendations of your government. Your local specialist will be happy to advise, and potentially work with you on an alternative plan.


  • Ride a camel in the shadow of the Great Pyramids
  • Cruise down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan
  • Explore ancient sites like Abu Simbel & the Valley of the Kings
  • Discover the markets, mosques & churches of Old Cairo
  • Sleep under the stars in the White Desert

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Cairo! Cairo
Day 2 Great Pyramids Tour: Memphis & Giza Cairo
Day 3 Fly to Luxor, Board Nile River Cruise Luxor
Day 4 Discover the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Edfu Edfu
Day 5 Tour Edfu's Temple of Horus, Cruise to Kom Ombo & Aswan Aswan
Day 6 Day Trip to Abu Simbel Aswan
Day 7 Explore Aswan, Fly to Cairo Aswan
Day 8 Tour the Egyptian Museum & Old Cairo Cairo
Day 9 Day Trip to Alexandria: Catacombs, Citadel & Mosque Cairo
Day 10 Cairo Food & Walking Tour, Khan El Khalili Market Cairo
Day 11 Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion Bahariya
Day 12 Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Cairo!

Ancient meets modern in Cairo

Welcome to Egypt! Upon your arrival at Cairo's airport, you'll be met by your guide who will assist you through customs and arrange a transfer to your hotel. Get settled in and rest up for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 2: Great Pyramids Tour: Memphis & Giza

Head to Giza to stand in the shadows of the pyramids

This morning you'll hit the ground running, meeting your Egyptologist guide and setting off for a tour of some of Egypt's most iconic sites. Start in Memphis, the first unified capital of the ancient world. Here you can visit the stepped pyramid of Saqqara, explore its 4,350-year-old tombs, and see the ancient hieroglyphics engraved on its walls.

Next, it's on to the Great Pyramids of Giza, starting with the pyramid of Cheops, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as a tomb, its shape was intended to help the spirit of the dead pharaoh rise to heaven. Continue to the pyramid of Chephren to see the best preserved of the main Giza pyramids, and to Mykerinos, the smallest of the three. No day at the pyramids would be complete without a camel ride, so you'll have the chance to mount a "ship of the desert" and go for a ride across the desert sands. After seeing the magnificent Sphinx up close, it's time to head back to the city, where you can enjoy the rest of the evening in Cairo at your leisure.

Day 3: Fly to Luxor, Board Nile River Cruise

Explore the Karnak Temple in Luxor

Today you'll catch a flight south to Luxor, where you'll be met by your guide for a tour of the famed Luxor Temple Complex, built during the New Kingdom around 1400 BCE. From here you'll transfer to the shores of the Nile River to board your cruise, which serves as your accommodation for the next four nights.

After lunch on board, you'll have the chance to visit the Karnak Temple, once a key religious center and one of Egypt's largest surviving temples.

Day 4: Discover the Valley of the Kings, Cruise to Edfu

See the Tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings

Early risers can begin today with an optional sunrise hot air balloon excursion over the Valley of the Kings to see the breathtaking ancient site from above.

After breakfast onboard the boat, you'll transfer to the west bank of Luxor to tour the famed Valley of the Kings. Discover the exteriors of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the beautiful Temple of Der el Bahari (dedicated to the funerary cult of Queen Hatshepsut), and the Statues of Memnon

Then it's time to cruise towards Edfu, enjoying lunch from the ship's sun deck as you pass through the Esna Lock

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Day 5: Tour Edfu's Temple of Horus, Cruise to Kom Ombo & Aswan

Enjoy stunning Nile views as you cruise towards Aswan

This morning you'll take a horse-drawn carriage tour through Edfu to reach the Temple of Horus, considered one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt.

As the cruise continues towards Aswan, you'll stop for a tour of the Temple of Kom Ombo. Built during the Ptolemaic era, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the crocodile god (Sobek) and falcon god (Haroeris). Admire its many intact courts and halls, along with wall carvings and statues, then return to the boat to enjoy a celebratory dinner on board.

Day 6: Day Trip to Abu Simbel

The spectacular carved facade of Abu Simbel

This morning you'll disembark and transfer to the magnificent Abu Simbel Temples. Built by the Egyptian king Ramses II who reigned 1279–1213 BCE, the massive rock-cut facades are truly incredible to see in person: despite their relatively remote location, they're one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Return to Aswan in the afternoon, and enjoy another evening moored on the Nile. 

Day 7: Explore Aswan, Fly to Cairo

Philae Temple
The beautiful Philae Temple in Aswan

Bid your river cruise farewell today, as you disembark and enjoy a day’s sightseeing in Aswan, an archaeologically rich city on the banks of the Nile. See Egypt's remarkable engineering achievement of the modern era, the Aswan High Dam, and marvel at the Unfinished Obelisk, still located in the ancient stone quarry where it was carved. After a tour of the beautiful Temple of Philae, dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis, it's time to transfer to the Aswan airport to catch a flight back to Cairo

Day 8: Tour the Egyptian Museum & Old Cairo

The domes and minarets of Old Cairo

This morning starts with a guided visit to the Egyptian Museum, home to the finest collection of Egyptian antiquities in the world. Containing pharaohs' treasures dating back more than 5,000 years, the building is rectangular with a large rotunda on the ground floor containing massive exhibits, including colossal statues of Ramses II — get the best views by looking down from the upper galleries. The gold and alabaster trappings from the tomb of Tutankhamun (Tut) always draw crowds, too. Many of the Tutankhamun tomb treasures have been on display in museums around the world — including the golden mask — yet this one exhibit has always remained in Cairo.

In the afternoon, you'll explore the city's historic streets on a tour of Old Cairo, where you can see the massive medieval Salah El-din Citadel and its enclosed Mohamed Ali alabaster mosque, once a stronghold against the Crusaders. The brilliant domed ceilings, suspended lights, and views of the city from this ancient fortress are sure to captivate.

Day 9: Day Trip to Alexandria: Catacombs, Citadel & Mosque

Stanley Bridge Alexandria
Stanley Bridge Alexandria

Today you'll meet your knowledgeable Egyptologist guide and drive three hours to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria

Embark on a whirlwind tour of Alexandria's highlights, starting with the Catacombs of Kom El Shoukafa. Descend underground to discover a world of ornate carvings and paintings and a mixture of Roman and Egyptian designs. Dating from the second century CE, it is the largest Roman funerary complex in Egypt and includes a warren of tombs on three levels.

Continue to the harbor to see the Citadel of Qaitbey, a defensive fort that stands on the original site of the Pharos, Alexandria’s ancient lighthouse. Built in 279 CE, the legendary wonder of the ancient world stood guard over the harbor of Alexandria for over 1600 years and was topped with a towering statue of Poseidon. Although Pharos was restored at various times, it had finally crumbled by the time the original fort was built here in the 15th century CE. 

After a leisurely lunch, you'll visit the beautiful Morsi Abu Alabas Mosque and the reborn Library of Alexandria before transferring back to Cairo for the evening.

Day 10: Cairo Food & Walking Tour, Khan El Khalili Market

Browse the Khan el Khalili Market

Work up an appetite today, as you explore the city on foot with a memorable gastronomic tour of Cairo. As rich in history and culture as it is in calories, this experience takes you on a walk through the city's most characterful streets, stopping at four different locations for a sampling of food, drinks, and sweets. Eat like a local as you learn about the recipes and ingredients of Cairo's traditional dishes.

In the afternoon, browse the bustling stalls of the historic Khan El Khalili Market to shop for souvenirs.

Day 11: Transfer to Bahariya, White Desert Camping Excursion

Journey into the desert for an unforgettable camping excursion

Today you'll embark on a breathtaking excursion into the desert, as your driver takes you on a 4.5-hour journey to the lush desert oasis of Bahariya. After a picnic lunch next to a small spring, you'll continue through more rugged desert landscapes, visiting the Black Desert and the sparkling quartz of Crystal Mountain, and on to the otherworldly rock formations in the Valley of Agabat.

As the sun sets in spectacular fashion over the White Desert, your guide will set up camp, preparing your tents and starting a fire to grill dinner. Under the clear desert sky, you can stargaze as you enjoy a delicious Bedouin-style dinner and tea.

Day 12: Explore the Black Desert, Return to Cairo & Departure

Watch the sunrise over the otherworldly monoliths of the White Desert

 Awaken to the silence of the desert this morning, as you enjoy a light breakfast after sunrise. Then it's back into the Jeep to cross the sand dunes of the Black Desert to reach El Zogag Mountain and enjoy the sweeping views from its summit.

After a return journey to Cairo, you'll bid Egypt farewell and transfer to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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